tv Book TV After Words CSPAN November 22, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm EST
>> host: when i do. >> guest: when i wrote the book i got a lot of reaction, some positive and some negative. and continue to get some positive reactions and negative reactions. some people took real offense at the title. if there was one aspect of the book that probably got me the most negative reaction was people who complained about the title, and who thought that i was being sensationalist, i was exploiting this term by putting it right there in the title, right there on the cover of a book that would appear in your book stores all across america. and what i said to people was -- and i still say -- and i say this unapologetically -- if you write a book you want people to read your book. there are thousands of books in any book store. there are hundreds of thousands
of books in any big library, and you got a lot of competition. the first thing you want to do, if you're an author, is to at least have somebody pick up the book. and so when i was thinking of a title issue thousand what i can title this book that would get somebody to take a peek, read the first paragraph. and i thought, well, nigger. nigger is a strange career of a trouble self-word. and i thought that would -- just think hard about words, think hard about examples, get the readers attention. that's what i was trying to do with the title. >> up next on booktv,
"afterwords" with guest host, the president of the national alliance of public charter schools. this week, sol month and his book, the one world schoolhouse. in it, presenting the benefits of online universal education for primary and secondary school students and discussings his career change to public educator. >> host: hi, sal, tell us about the book and the journey you went that led you to writing the book? >> guest: the book is about the journey, but how that informed what khan became and how that could inform what learning could become, and not just in a pies in the sky way, but this is really happening and feels like we're in this inflection point in what's going on in classrooms. you know, the whole adventure
for me started somewhat inadvertently. it was 2004. i was working as an analyst at a hedge fund at the time. just got married. family from new orleans visiting me in boston after my wedding, and one cousin, nadia, was having trouble. 12 years old, a bright girl, share some of the beauty, and when i asked her, her mom told me, and nadia said she was having trouble with units. i said, let me tutor you. she thought i was bluffing. she went back to new orleans, got on the phone, we used some tools on the internet to see each other and pen tablet things, and long story short, you know, she went from being a struggling student to catching up with the class and becoming somewhat advanced student,
actually. i joke, i became a tiger cousin at that point. i call the school saying nadia needs to take a placement exam. they said, who are you? i said, i'm her cousin. i tutored her brothers, and then fast forward two years, word got around free tutoring was happying, and it was at that point that a -- and the firm i was working for, it was a firm, but my boss, his dog, and me, we moved to silicon valley, and i was telling a friend about what i was doing, and i was complaining that it's getting hard to scale. i thought a day job, all students around the country, time zones, ect., ect., and he said make tutorials. make them up on youtube, and i thought that was really youtube are for cats playing piano, not serious, but i gave it a shot.
long story short, that go a ton of traction. people looked at it. the word is i was working on a software tool for my cousins. there was a view, hey, maybe could be used to help people. the set up is a non-for-profit, and in 2009, i had trouble focusing on my day job, so i became full-time. >> tell me about the khan academy? start with the business model. the big audacious school and the business model you have been on. >> guest: yeah, so, well, maybe i'll go the other way around because, you know, when i started this, i came from a for-profit reality. i have friends who are venture capitalists, saying, we can fund this, a double bottom line business, whatever that means, and there was a lot of temptation there. nothing wrong with that, but the feeling, i was getting all this emotional reward from the thank you letters people sent me and
the cernes that, hey, i was making simple things for my cousin, and first a few and now millions use it around the world. i want this to be around in 500 years. i don't want a collection of software and content and disorganization. i don't want it to skew the mission to be able to reach these people. when i look at other organizations in the universe that are able to do that, last many, many, hopefully, centuries, and stay true to a mission, it's a non-for-profit with no ownership, but a public charity. i said, well, it's a non-for-profit, and i remember doing the paperwork for, it the irs asks you, what's your mission? i kind of thought about it for three or four minutes. i said, well, a e free world class education for anyone anywhere. >> host: why not? >> guest: why not. you just don't want something to
say, check, it's done. it's an aspiration, a delusional one at the time. i was operating from a close et. the business model is we're not a business. we're a non-for-profit, but we have to sustain ourselves, and the way we want to because we always want the learning side of education, we want that to be free because that empowers people. it's primarily foundation and philanthropist driven so far, but we sustain ourself in other ways like licensing content or who knows what. we are exploring that, but we're true to keeping the contents free. >> host: how many students are you serving now? how many instructors? do you have aceps -- a sense of how large? what's a typical profile of those visiting your website? >> guest: so the organization, itself, 36 people, still relatively small, but for us, huge because last year we were 13 and year before that it was one.
we've been growing fast, but in this past month, rereached 7 million students, unique students. we've reachedded a total of 60 million, the way you measure them on the web, delivered 180 million lessons, 700 million problems, and we've been done on the site. it's, you know, it's students all over the wore. all over the world. students have used the academy this some way. 20,000 teachers, as far as we can tell from the data are using it in their classes or are their cohorts in a type of a way. it's surreal for where it came from. >> host: yeah. talk about how a classroom or school can use you, this concept of a flipped classroom. explain that to our viewers. >> guest: yeah, two things. a flipped classroom has been tied to khan academy, and it is an interesting idea and forward step, but the point of the book
was to show people we're not necessarily about the split. we're about pushing the envelope further than the flip. in a flip model, you know, right now at home, problems, homework, and in the classroom, a lot of time in the traditional classroom, it's lectures, and the flip is -- predates khan academy, and you made a motion on projectile motion, i don't have the give the election. students watch it on their own time and pace, remediate without taking up class time, and when they go to class, they can ask me questions, clarifications, and we can do problems together. it used to be homework, but now the problems are done in the classroom. the advantage there is the real learning occurs the engagement, and traditionally students don't do homework, have trouble doing
homework because there's nobody home to help them out, but now they do it in the classroom, the teachers, the peers, not only to help you, but when you help others, you learn better. when you're lecturing, it's hard to know where people are. i mean, you might be able to pull them, ask questions, but it's hard. students are blank faces, but if you do problem solving together, much more -- you can understand where students are and diagnose them. that's the flip. what used to be homework in the classroom, what used to be lectures are now at home. it makes the classroom interactive, students get lectures at their time and pace. great. what i foe e cues on in the book is let's go further. still, even the flip, assume that all the students are going to cover the same material at the same pace together, and what i talk about is this -- we've
been in the system, and when i talk about the system, it's not what should be the student teacher ratio, but the system, grouping kids by age-based cohorts. they cover certain subjects at a set pace, grade them on their variable understanding and push them forward. we assume that's what school is, but what i go to show is, no, it's a relatively knew phenomena, 200 years -- not that new, but 200 years old, inherited that from a country that no longer exists, the prussians, and in fairness to the prussians and to us, i guess, during the industrial revolution was the first time people seriously thought about how can we educate everybody? before that, it was, you know, you're the son of a lord, and you would get to be king and have a private tutor. that was the gold standard. they work at your pace, but now,
we want mass education. how do you do in in a practical way, oh, the industrial revolution, stick them on an assembly line, as they go through, do something to the product, and at the end, have a decent product. they applied the same model to classrooms. kids are in the buckets based on age. i was talking to a friend, and her child already knows how to read and everything, and she was trying to get the child into kindergarten, born in october or something, and the school said, oh, yeah, a bright kid, but we can't. he's too small. i told -- she came back, yeah, he's too small. look, if that's what they were concerned about, group them by size. >> host: right. >> guest: that's the obvious, natural, but that's the model, and so what -- even the flip is in the context of that model. on week three, we cover parabolas, systems of equations,
and we give students grades. we give them a "b" showing they have a gap in the knowledge, a "c or a "d," but you move on to the next topic moving you to failure. what we advocated, and schools are experimenting in this direction is if you take lecture out of the classroom, there's no longer the need for everyone to move together at the same pace. as soon as you get rid of that assumption, you can completely rethink what a classroom can be. everyone can learn at their own pace. leverage class time when humans are together for interactivity. why can't we have two teachers in the room? why does a bell ring? this is like a factory in 19th century, why is there a bell ringing saying stop what you are doing on chemistry, you have to now start english. anyone who does anything creative, that's the way to stop it, you have 55 minutes, and
then you're done. >> host: right. >> guest: what we advocate is move to reality with possibly with the help of tools like khan academy, teachers have dash boards, tools to empower them, and use classroom for activity and creativity. >> host: right, right. you touched op this a little bit, but explain a little about why is it that your platform has taken off, getting so much attention when others were trying to do the same thing on the for-profit side, some on the non-profit side have not succeeded. >> guest: it's an open question. we ask that ourselves. whatever the secret sauce is, we don't want to lose it in the process. my best guess of why there's this initial wave of traction, you know, from 2006 to -- even continues to grow, is the first videos, i think, it was fortunate that it was a guy making it for his cousin. i think -- >> host: easy to use. >> guest: easy to use, felt
human, and the big learning thing is people were hungry. i was not the first person to put videos on youtube or teaching. with radio, oh, we'll use this to teach the world, tv, vcr, and now on demand. but historically, it was a videotape of someone at a chalk board, you know, traditional class, feels very -- feels distant even in the class roosm. you're there, i'm here. the next step in the equation, and you do it like that. when you make that in the video, it's harder 20 see. what are they writing there, i can't hear them, and these feel personal. you're next to me. i think the other dimension of it is the conversational tone. it's, you know, a lot of people, they try to make it polished, which is not bad, but in that process, you lose the humanity. it sounds like your gps system, the next step in the e cation -- >> host: exactly. >> guest: i think,
hopefully -- this is something i tried to put into it is one of the things that allowed me to do to thrive in math or science or eventually finance was i felt like i had a holistic understanding of things. my basics were really, really solid, and my basics in algebra were good. when i went into corporate finance, this is intiewtive. there's nothing new here. you see other really, really smart people just learning for the next exam, memorizing formulas, and forget it. there's a related con -- concept, and they are like, what's this? draws connections between things so that when you see a concept, it's not new, but it's connected to everything they learned before, and i get a lot of letters saying i would assume that would have been appealing to the motivated kids so to speak, but i get letters from kids were traditionally disengaged or demotivated, and
no one just explained the why or giving them the connections. hopefully that's why people are -- have been, i guess, connecting to the content. >> host: yeah. so let's talk about virtual education and offering the types of things you're offering. people are still a little weiry of these reforms. they see it as a mechanism to ultimately get rid of teachers in the classroom or reduce class sizes. you talked about this in the book, and explain that a little bit. >> guest: yeah, yeah, super important point. over the last 15-20 years, when people see virtual x, it's going to replace the physical. barnes & noble against amazon.com, there's a contention there. exact opposite of what's going to happen in education. everything we do is not going to replace physical school. i have young kids. i want them to go to a physical school. i want them to get interaction. what it will do, i think, is give all of our children the
experience that i think every parent and every teacher or student wants to be a part of. even now, we're going into the physical experience, but we're not leveraging the human. we're going, but people are sitting passively there, listening, and it's hard for the teachers too because it's hard to speak for 60 minutes without getting that connection with the students, and so what we advocate is leverage tools so you can get information delivery out of the way, get some of the problem solving out of the way, but so when people go, and they have class time, the scarce class time with other miewbs, that's ultimately interactive, and interactive in the human sense. class time is all conversation. class time is all peer tutoring and working with the teacher. class time is open ended projects, and so, you know, i talk about this in the book, and i gave a talk, and the irony here is i strongly believe, and it's not just talk again, but seeing this in the classrooms is that you can actually use technology to make the classroom
more human. i'm careful. you mentioned skepticism. there should be. i'm skeptical when someone ordered 500 ipads for the school. what are you going to do with it? how will you integrate that in the curriculum or leverage it to transform what's going on? there are not a lot of answers there. i think it is good to be skeptical, but at the same time, there is -- i think, a reason for hope. >> uh-huh. how do you evaluate the impact of the courses since, again, you talked about grades in your book and how you don't like grading. how do you know they have actually worked? >> guest: yeah, and i'll tell you, i mean, a lot of times, when i grew up, i remember i would meet people saying i don't believe in grades, and i thought they were a gray -- granola bar hippy type people, but i appreciate what they are saying now. people who don't like grades are being touchy feely, but they are
not being rigorous enough. oh one, they are somewhat arbitrary, depend on the test and how it's measured, but more than that, when you give grades, especially in the sense, if you got a c on an exam, you have obvious weaknesses, assuming it was a good exam, there's obvious weaknesses. that should be used as an assessment to say you have to improve on the weaknesses before we move on. it's common sense, get the basics down. but now it's a value judgment, you're dumb, you're fast, you're smart, you're slow. what we say is, no, make sure everyone masters the concept. rather than having a superficial understanding of algebra and moving on to trig no , ma'am try. understand it deeply and then trig no , --
trig will make more sense. in terms of how we do it, we work with schools, los altos using khan academy, probably one the best in the country, using khan academy for 5th-8th grade as one of the tools they use. we have formal studying going on how to understand how this impacts students and teachers, both objectively on things like test scores and grades, but also on things on subjects. are the teachers more excited about the work. are the students excited about their work? on top of that, you know, we have 3 million problems done a day on the site. there's a huge number of students a month. we have a treasure-trove of data on the site itself. >> host: monitoring it? >> guest: all the other web companies are able to do, we, as an education non-for-profit can do using analytics, optimizing for engagement, seeing what learning is going op.
>> host: so tell me a little bit about -- so you gave a great historical overview of how we came to educate students today, the way we are educating them. did you always hold these views and know the information before you stumbled on the khan academy or the platform created or these things you studied afterwards? just so happens everything flows so beautifully, that's why i was curious what came first. >> guest: you know, it's been a combination. i think it's more of the latter. you know, obviously, all of us spent time in the system. i think the whole timing and nip who knew me growing up, knew i was like, why is that this way? why can't i tutor. no, this is a positive interaction. there's a question, you know, you go to college, and, like like people are in a lecture hall, anything happening? the learning happens in the cram session three days before the
final. there's always these ideas, and then, obviously, i work with the cousins, saw -- my cousins were motivated. they were good students, but they were having gaps in the knowledge, not learning intuitively. >> host: swiss cheese learning. >> guest: swiss cheese learning. i started building tools, a process of discovery saying teachers e-mailing me, and conversation of how do i learn, how do others learn, what am i seeing with the teachers, with my cousins, what are teachers telling me? as this got more traction, i had people tell me about this stuff. i knew about the history before. you know, i heard about this committee of ten and, you know, i was told lookout that in high school, but it was interesting that, you know, even the research. the reason why i made the video short was because youtube limited me to 10 minutes, but research said there's cog cognie
research that, actually, like, people, especially dense academic content can't pay attention for more than 10-15 minutes. why use hour long lectures? can't we get people to interact more? the more i researched, the more these basic common sense ideas jelled with research. that's when you are best about it. every -- it's weird when research tells you something non-intuitive, but here it is very, very intuitive. we're indoctrinated into a strange model. >> host: it all makes sense. tell me about your own education. i mean, something despite the system you grew up in, something must have gone right. your teacher? your parents you think who built this sense of inquiztiveness or did you go to a particular type of school open to nurturing you as an individual and paying
attention to the specific needs or, yeah, did none of these things -- >> guest: i would delusional, although i am sometimes delusional, but just two -- probably a bunch of factors and probably forgetting, but, one, blessed to have an older sister who was a very good student so i think that projected when i would walk into a classroom, the teachers remembered my sister. oh, you're her brother, you must be -- i was in speech therapy, but they would project that. there's now studies showing that projections has implications on your self-esteem. that was luck. on top of that, i went to a public school in jefferson parrish outside of new orleans, and i would say it's the average american public school, all of them. elementary, middle, and high school, but, you know, there were some incredible teachers there. i think in high school in
particular, mr. hernandez, ms. kennedy. she was a journalism teacher. that's where the ideas that, look, class should not be a lecture, but working alongside the teacher in the journalism class. we had a creative product. i was the art editor. she gave us feedback, the senior peer, and i remember the experiences from that and i think about that. i think early in the schools, i mean, key and also lucky, i got into, you know, i don't know what they call it now, but gt programs, and what they did is you had a structured prussians curriculum most of the day, but a day a week, they take you to a different classroom, and there you go into this classroom, essentially the kind of classroom ideally everyone should have, where you have -- it was the two teachers, ph.d. in education, and i walked in to gt, and he asked what do you
want to do? i was, like, 8. i was, like, i like to draw. she says, draw more then. she introduced me to things, different styles, tools to draw. what else are you interested in? i was like, i like puzzles. here's some puzzles. she gave me brain teasers. it was self-paced. other kids working op things, and i was inspired by them. i think we needed that breathing room to have -- i wonder if i did not have that experience early on, whether i would have had the ability to kind of self-direct or have the ability to say, oh, let me solve that problem. you know, that's an interesting thing to tackle. >> host: right. so along those lines, do you have any advice for parents out there, first graders, second graders, and i ask you that because in the book you highlight how students in southeast asia go to school in order to show you off what they know, not to learn in schools.
are there habits parents can start to, you know, put in place early on despite how the schools are approaching education? >> guest: yeah, you know, take everything i have with a grain of salt. i have a 3-year-old and 1 #-year-old. maybe i should get advice from other parents. i'm trying to get my 1-year-old off the passifier. myceps going through the system and observing, working with teachers and schools now, there's a couple dimensions. it is true, asians, whether it's east asia, south asia, there is a culture of going to school to show what you learned at home. that giving them the advantage of having a buffer. they are learning stuff maybe ahead. i'm not saying that has to be the way, but it is a way to ensure the students in the prussians'sed motivated eel, and when they fall behind, negative
reenforcing each other. what i would do is a combination of engaging them with a lot of content in a way before it becomes stressful so you teach -- when you tutor -- when i was teaching nadia algebra, it was stressful for her because she had to catch up. when i taught it to her younger brother in 5th grade, he thought it was fun. there's no stress, just a fun thing. expose kids to the ideas and algebra and everything early on so when they see it in school, they had the exposure. the other thing is don't over schedule them. sometimes the same parents that would -- the same parents that would do the teaching ahead of time also, you have piano lessons, soccer, everything. i think there's a value there, definitely, but if it's complete overscheduling, you have the loss of time for the child to develop their own creativity,
kind of what i had in the gt class. in the ages, i was a last key child. my mom, she worked odd jobs and came home at six o'clock or seven o'clock. my sister end -- my sister and i would hang out, wasted by watching tv, but sometimes we'd draw or make up games and stuff like that. kids need that. they need that free space. maybe if they blow it all on video game or blow it on tv, do something creative with them. they need the time for creativity. the last thing i recommend is the parents themselves engage in learning because you set that example. if you're 40 or 50 years old, and you go back and learn english lit, it's a huge thing. >> host: right. talk about your vision for the ideal classroom or futuristic vision outlined here about what the school of tomorrow should look like, a lifelong learning approach to education. you talked about the college of tomorrow. i was fascinated by this.
let's talk just about schooling. you know, notions of class size, the ideal classrooms could potentially have a hundred students in it with four instructors roaming around helping students. you talked about grades already, but testing. this is one of those topics that comes up a lot in washington and with the discussions on the hill, but how would you describe that for us? you talked about how you would get rid of summer vacations, probably not popular, but dive into this. >> guest: there's a lot there. the first to mention is once you remove lecture from class time, class time is a time for interaction, students working at their own pace. you can rethink everything. this is happening. schools we work with are doing these things. they are experiments, but they are experiments that all the research and intuition point in that direction. teaching is the most solitary
profession. >> host: it's loney. >> guest: it's loany. you can have a hundred students, not changing the ratio, might improve it, but there's four teachers. if one is sick, there's not a substitute teacher. students connect with different teachers. do group things. there's a comangs to add. you can have a physics teacher, math teacher, chemistry teach herb teems simultaneously. all the sciences and math blend together but not siloed subjects. the test themselves, you need some aspect of testing, but someone should be -- be skeptical of testing because all tests measure is what they test. there's much more facets to a human being than that. the dimensions that, you know, there could be some testing to make sure that students are getting core competency and skills, but the most important
unmeasured now are creativity. you can never give a creativity score, but you can generate a portfolio of creative works. we are hiring engineers, and we get the people great gpas from top schools in the country. what have you created? that's what engineering is. building new things. they have not created anything because they were on the treadmill trying to finish problem sets, and they are very, very smart people so the idea is students can show what they created. it's like a paper that's graded and thrown away, but write a paper, it's graded, and then they keep writing it, when they're 18, they have a book. on top of that, this is another dimension that's completely missed in the prussians's model so to speak is as -- i think in any field, those you want to
work with the most are people with deep subject matter expertise, but always willing to help others. they have a communication and ability to empathize, and in our cart system, we make everyone focused on themselves. way are your grades? are you going to pass the test? cram for the next exam. what we see in a lot of schools is let's focus everyone on each other. you go at your own pace, racing ahead, that's great, you're engauged, but you also have a chance to reengauge with students who might be having difficulty. when you explain that, hopefully, and you develop your ability to explain, you learn the material better and learn to communicate and everyonetize. these, that is measurable. students with rate each other, write assessments for each other. he understood it, but he spoke fast. you can develop that aspect. i'd imagine the transcripts of the future, and i say "the future," and what i mean by the future is actually now, is,
yeah, have scores, that shows competency, yeah, i understand eel jay bra and renewedded that i know eel jay br well. i'm a writer, he's the writings. you have a portfolio of your work in multidimensions, and you have reviews from people you helped saying a great person to work with, understood the matter, communicated well. those are the things anyone would care about more than just test scores. >> host: right. talk about what happens in the classroom or school in terms of subjects. you believe you have to take math, english, language arts, science at a certain point in time. do you, i mean, do you believe basics should be taught in the school, and at what point, i mean, another question i wanted to ask is do you believe all children are learn unless they is a serious disability? can they all progress to the levels you progressed to if they learn and master and show
interest in the subject matter they study, vis-a-vis the stem subjects, science, technology, engineering, and math. is it because they did not understand it or were not pushed or limitations, perhaps, how we get students to learn the subjects? >> guest: yeah, on the latter question, if you asked 20 years ago, yeah, maybe some are disposed to math and science, and that made me feel like i was meant to be there, was not luck. my experience with the cousins, nadia in particular and others, and what we see in schools. the schools are transitioning to the type of the model where all students learn at their own pace, building foundations. we're seeing, you know, day five, yeah, some kids raced ahead. those are gifted. some fall behind. maybe they need to be
remediated. in a traditional model, you separate telling these kids you're smart and saying you're not as smart. what we see is if you keep them together, allow them to work at their own pace, mentorship from each other and the teacher, many times it's hard to predict, trying to, but it's very hard, some of the students who were falling behind, maybe it's in an algebra class, some didn't know how to add fractions. give them the opportunity to build the foundation on negative numbers, exponents, whatever it might be. it was not an inability to understand. the problem was they are in a class, and for some reason, they didn't understand how to multiply or understand how to add fractions, and then you feel silly. you'll disengage just to protect your own self-esteem. i'm now more end more convinced that pretty much everyone, you know, barring certain exceptions could -- we don't know where.
we're still learning. we don't know, but progress far ahead. we're seeing it in the classrooms. we traditionally think motivated kids, 20% of kids, but as soon as you allow those to engage and fill in gaps without feeling embarrassed, it's 80% or 90% of the kids who feel engaged. in terms of the first question about what subjects and how -- i talk a little about it. the subjects taught now are arbitrary. they were decided in 1892 by the committee of 10, male university presidents who did not know about -- before the federal reserve existed, the interstate highways existed, knowledge of dna, and a bunch of other stuff. they decided at age 14 you learn algebra, 15, geometry, and 16 trig, and senior year in high school -- that was when it was decided, and it has not changed since. they are fascinating subjects, but i think there's obvious questions, you know, should
there be more statistics? should there be some knowledge of economics? who knows what it would be. for society to decide, but the general idea is at minimum, it should be rethought within the last 120 years. the world has changed. we should think more about what the subjects are. i think they should be divvied up, and these are -- we're indoctrinated in it. it's hard to break minds from it. this is the factory model. this is, oh, you're at this machine and the factory, and this is what is poured into the product. okay, now you have the paint applied to you, the chemistry, and now you move on. for some people, that tips that way. that's fine. that's a cheaper product at the end. the reality is chemistry is halfway in between physics and biology, and physics is halfway
in between chemistry and pure mathematics. there's an aspect of philosophy and as thetics to them, and whatever else and writing can be critical and logical thinking is across all the programs. you can have something like, you know, logic, across everything, and so i think the reality we're moving to is, yes, there's competency in thingsment i understand this to mean well. take an exam, renew that exam showing, yes, i understand the topic, but while in school, it could be preparation for the particular competency, but most of the time is blending it. you're not working to pass an assessment, but to create things. in the process of creating things, whether it's a novel or robot or business, you're integrating all of these things. nip who started a business, a text business, there's a -- there's art design, technology, there's quantitative thinking, and there's writing, and there's human skills. you need to integrate it.
that's what matters in the real word. these -- when you break yourself from this assembly line model, you give yourself the freedom for people to pursue these things. >> host: so why not create a khan academy charter school or private school? >> guest: yeah, so -- >> host: i'm sure you've thought of it. >> guest: we go back and forth on that, but i -- it's -- we're thinking about it. we're thinking about it. i mean, -- >> host: where would you put it? which country would you pick? >> guest: i would put it in mountain view, california, within walking distance -- but, no, seriously, it's interesting. this shows the emphasis we put. physical experience is incredibly, incredibly important. people in silicon valley say you're at scale already. 7 million, growing, doubling every year, reach a billion student, and why are you thinking about the physical or thinking about physical schools? i would say, well, that's
because that's the core. i also think you need -- you say, well, why focus on one school that reaches a few hundred kids when you can reach a hundred million in one day? if you show examples of this, and there are schools that have already moved in that direction. los altos, summit prep, they broke down walls, multiple teachers teaching classes in epic environments. if you show examples of this, then i think that's what moves dpsh that's what moves the dial forward. >> host: how much would be the tuition? >> guest: you know -- >> host: avenues, and a school in new york is $40,000 a child. it was still without this bulk and vision behind it. >> guest: right. the money is faze nateing. you know, education is, you know, someone asked me recently, can you spend too much on education? some is no. it's app important thing. at the same time, if you spend that much money, think about
spending it, and i spoke to officials about this, and i just regardless of the cost, some, you know, 25,000, 40,000 a year, ask a public school, you know, some states, it's low, goes down to 5,000 a year, but most states, especially on the east coast, it's 15,000, cambridge, massachusetts is $25,000 a year. what's the class size? a number between 20 and 30. i said, okay. private school? charging 30,000 a year, that is for, you know, what's immac pacting the students? maybe the textbook. maybe there's a hundred thousand spent there.
where's the rest? why can't we use -- 10,000 a year, 20 or 30 students in a class, that's 300,000 a year. pay the teacher 150,000. make teaching, they pay lip service to, oh, teaching should be on par with doctors, engineers, and lawyers. that's nice lip service, but if you believe that, pay teachers the sames as doctors, jerns, and lawyers. that's what the value is. the money is clearly there. it has to get cut from those, and i used to see cfo r s, a what am i missing? same question. you know, 15,000 a year times 30 students is $450,000 a year, a fully loaded cost of a teacher is e less than half of that.
where's the money going? i think you could do a very good model for what public schools do. definitely some of the more, you know, the systems spending 10,000 for. >> uh-huh. talk a little about how bill gates talked to you. it was interesting. what was it like to find out all the sudden that bill gates was watching your videos? what went through your mind? >> guest: sometimes i wake up in the morning wondering if that was made up or a dream. the sun's got traction, but in summer 2010, one of the first donors sent text messages that bill gates was at the aspen ideas festival telling the audience he uses a site that he thinks is great called the khan academy, usings it for himself and kids, but then, you know, i didn't know what to do. do i reach out?
i don't think he's listed. his two weeks later, the chief of staff called saying bill's a fan, and i said, yeah, yeah, i heard that. if you're free, we want to fly you up. my calendar was blank. i can make time for bill. i have to cut my nails, but other than that, my schedule's flexible. i went up, and, i mean, really articulated this. the time, it was the videos i was doing, look, if we can get resources, and i was dreaming about a five-person team and office space. that was the dream at that point. we could make -- we could build out the software, and i did it with my cousins so students can build community on the site and help each other and build forces for teachers so that they can use it to diagnose students and leverage class time effectively, and then him and later google as well, you know, they were strong believers in that. >> host: great. so, you know, you talk a little
bit about talent and creativity in your book, and we talked a little bit about this earlier op, but do you think, you know, in the advent of all of these -- not at vend, but since, you know, a couple years ago, there were books focused on talent. talent is overratedded. the talent code, you name it. and i have a 7-year-old who i'm trying to foster into talented individual, do you think talent and creativity are things that can be, in fact, you know, talked to children or -- >> guest: i don't -- i'm not sure. frankly, and i think no one is sure. my sense through observation and seeing what's happening there is it's not something that's taught, but something that can be untaught. it can be taught or suppressed. talent and craftivity.
there's not a 2-year-old on the planet who, if you introduce a new object into the room, will not walk up to the october and manipulate it in every way, taste it, feel it, there's not a 2-year-old on the planet or a 5-year-old. most 5-year-olds, still, a new object in the room, they engage with it, a new idea, they ask questions, but something happens where they are taught to become passive. to some degree, it's an environment where questioning is not always cool. they are so overwhelmed with work, whether it's soccer practice or homework, there's no time to think about something. you know, the class is moving on. they don't think about, why, why carrying the one? it's like a formula for me. they don't have time for that type of stuff. you know, all of these things fall from the idea of breaking from the model, breaking from the one pace lecture. as soon as you take that out, now you can say, hey, why can't we -- if there's a 16-year-old
in the country with some insight on, like, well maybe cancer can be addressed, maybe this is what cancer is, and too bad. the bell's going to ring. they have an ap test the next day. oh, i have too much work to do. you know, i quote an admission's office in the book talk about interviewing a bunch of people who are coming to an elite college saying what do you daydream about. one said we don't daydream about anything because we then we can't get into college. it's the daydreams that lead to actual -- i'll tell you, you know, khan academy exists because my boss at the hedge funds is a very non-traditional for the field, had a strong belief in lifelong balance, and so i had time today dream about the khan academy. my wife was a resident, medical resident so i felt bad watching tv, and so i was able to think
about this problem, and make resources, and we -- and i think anyone is capable of doing that. we have to give them the time and breathing room to do it. >> host: especially now since it appears, i don't know if this was in your book or i heard it from tom friedman, the jobs of tomorrow are going to be jobs that are created, not jobs that currently exist. >> guest: the prussian model started with the industrial revolution, and the industrial revolution we needed more educated people than we needed in the civilization, people who could read directions, have the disblip and all of that, then you had to imp kate. there's an independence and freedom to it, and in the factory, you do this over and over again, and, you know, and we -- one debates whether it was done, but there was an element of instilling that passivity and indoctrine nation so that people could be good workers, but now -- before the pyramids, it
was like that, a few workers doing creative things and a mass of labor. now the pyramid's inverted. we need a lot of creative people, all the real careers now are creative focused and open-ended and little physical labor. in that reality, you know, we're training people for this while we need the opposite. >> host: right. so since we are in the nation's capital, do you have advice for congress or the president? how can they best help bring this vision to life, understanding that? >> guest: it's an interesting question because we meet with state officials and federal officials and, you know, even other countries and min industries of education. the one thing that i don't want to happen is, you know, right now, it's been a very grassroots thing. word of mouth, parents telling parents, teachers telling teachers, and that's good. these are people who want to make it work and figure it out and tell us how to make it work
better. as soon as it's top-down, it becomes no one likeses it. we want it to be grassroots. tell people about it. tell teachers that, look, there might be another model that you probably will enjoy more. there are ways to reach more students. on top of that, and i'm serious about this, i think it's a -- they set the example. it's too easy now in our society for people to say, oh, i'm not good at math. they say that about like 6th grade math. oh, this is math, i don't understand it. oh, i can barely write. no one says that. politicians say that, ceos say that, people in the press say that. i think that messaging should change and the only way it can is if they engage with it. it's shocking how many people are engaged in education policy where they don't know the matter themselves. i'm not good at math, but this is how we should test it. that's crazy.
you, yourself, engage in the content, and that will be a huge signal to society to help inform policy. the more they do that, they'll realize it's a lot less about top-down, less about the controls. you know, the controls they do, every it ration is just about more controls op teachers, and it might derisk some of the weaker players, but it also handicaps the -- all the rest, and that gets to a culture of, you know, everyone getting to mediocre. what we need to do is go the other way, have it be grassroots. what i point out in the book, that's an american thing. we're a country that focused on creativity, we're a country focused on people taking ownership over their lives, but our school system is a prussian one on passivity, authority, and everything about this book is let's make our school systems more american. >> host: any final thoughts? if you were sitting with president obama, you know, at
the white house, aside from asking him to use the bully pulpit more -- >> guest: i'm somewhat serious. i'd ask him to -- this is a somewhat different dimension, but it was talked about in the book. i'd ask him to make content for us. what's happening now is the public's discourse, it's so destroyed in 30 seconds, but you can't have a chance to go deep on either side of the aisle. right now, the main adult learning happens on the 24-hour news, and it's in the 30-second sound bites. no one understands the issues so it's emotionally chargedded. this form phak or, this way is a chance for obama to really explain why he makes the decisions he does, and maybe the opposition to really explain why and get to -- diagram it out, have a quiz after so people retain it. that fills in the gap in learning that, frng lay -- some of the most popular videos are credit default swaps, the health care plan, the electoral college, gaps in people's learning and adults of any age
want to learn it. >> host: a pleasure reading the book and nice meeting you, and thanks for joining us. >> guest: oh, no, a pleasure. that was "after wordsbook" booktv's signature program where authors are interviewed by others familiar with their material. it airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on summed, and 12 # a.m. on monday. you can also watch online. go to booktv.org and click on "after words" in the book tv series and topics list on the upper right side of the page. >> let's start with green jobs. the bureau of labor has five definitions of the 3 #.1 million green jobs that it's counted.
energy, energy first efficiency, energy pollution reduction and removal, natural resource conservation, and environmental compliance, education, and training, and public awareness. when i was testifying on capital hill before the house energy and commerce committee, they had a paper cup in front of me. often, it's a bottle of water, but this time it was a bottle of water and paper cup. the cup said architect of the capital on one side and power to save energy on the other side. since this cup fit the definition of education, training, and public awareness, the workers who made it had green jobs. if the cup had just said architect of the capital or just been a plain white cup, then the people who made it would not have had green jobs. when i wrote this book
"regulating to disaster" about environmental issues, while i was doing it, i had a green job, and, perhaps, i still do right now because i'm talking about it, but if i had been writing about social security and actually at the same time, i was writing by book, if i had just been working on that, i would not have had a green job. plumbers, if they install regular toilets, they don't have green jobs. if they install low flow jobs, they have green jobs. farmers, if they grow corn for ethanol, they have a green job. if they grow corn for ethanol and corn for people to eat, they have a green job. if they just grow corn for people to eat, even though they are farmers, they don't have green jobs. salvation army workers, if they recycle used clothing, then they
have green jobs too. well, there are 4665 people who produce renewable energy in utility companies according to the bureau of labor statistics. latest report coming out in april. they are clearly green, but you have to ask are they making energy more speansive or less expensive? it's clear it's more expensive. the average levellized cost for power plants entering service in 2017 according to the department of energy, if they are fueled by natural gas, this costs $66 per megawatt hour. for winds, $96 per megawatt hour. for solar power, $153 per megawatt hour. well, five years ago in 2007 when the energy loan guarantee program was put in place and many subsidies for solar and
wind, we didn't know that we were sitting on 200 years of independencive natural gas. maybe it was logical for people then to think we need to be independent or as independent as we can be of the middle east. in fact, the first president who coined the phrase "energy independence" was richard nixon, a republican. maybe it was logical to think, well, if we make our own energy, then we will be more independent and self-sufficient, but this was before we found that we had all of this inexpensive natural gas so now we are in the middle of the new american energy revolution. we found that we have all of this, and as john once said, when the facts change, i change my mind. what do you do?